CD REVIEW: Inside Neon - If you’re not with us, then you’re against us
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Inside Neon
CD: If you’re not with us, then you’re against us
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Progressive Rock, Alternative Rock, Ambient Rock
Sounds Like: Radiohead, Red Rider, The Fixx, Death Cab for Cutie
Technical Grade: 8/10
Weakness: Engineering Aspects, Winded Songs, Retail Non-Compatibility
Inside Neon was formed in Tokyo in 2009. The band was founded by Rich Loffman, former guitarist with melodic electro-rockers MJ Ultra. Vocalist and Guitarist Rich Loffman recruited Irish bassist Nat York, and Scottish drummer Dave Austin, formerly with Scottish rockers Darkest of Peru, to form a classic power-rock trio. The band's current line-up is: Nat York - Bass/backing vocals Chris Meggitt – Drums, Teruhisa Yamaura – Guitar, Rich Loffman – Vocals/guitar/programming
The CD kicks things off with Track 1 “Cosmonaut” a methodical/ prelude of sorts that’s serves up melodic guitar driven textures, panted against dynamic musical flow and impressive culmination. This intro piece leads you head first into Track 2 “The Soviets” which serves up rock steady rock anthem dishing out impressive musical build against melodic vocals and thought provoking lyrical content throughout. Track 3 shifts gears a bit with “Go Kitano” a dynamic follow-up piece with heartfelt vocal delivery, and aggressive distorted guitar attack that flows and ebbs its way though to emotional fruition. Track 4 “Radical Citizens” keeps things moving with its dynamic guitar, methodical musical movement against a grand slam chorus. As the CD quickly unfolds I can hear influences ranging from Radiohead, Red Rider, The Fixx, Death Cab for Cutie and even Incubus. The music has everything you would expect from a dynamic Alternative/Progressive Rock CD, but also touches straight up Ambient /Rock that’s quite dynamic and melodic. The style of the music is highly original and refuses to be pinned down the first listen. The vocals are impressive, compelling and push the emotional envelope and imagination. The guitar ambience is very melodic and dynamic and the musical flow and ebb is highly creative. The overall vocal style works extremely well with this confines of this progressive rock catalogue and the intensity and emotions is off the charts. Rhythm section - lays down the low end groove thick as a brick. What I like most about the music is its sheer unpredictability note for note and song for song. By track 5 the CD hits solid stride dishing out many impressive songs in a row. Like a heavy weight boxer the songs keep coming at you one after the other - with no sign of letting up. I also like some of the curve ball timing changes thrown at the listener throughout. From rocking “Radical Citizens” to my personal favorite “Cold Sunshine” to hypnotic “Losing Gravity” to striking “Faith and Time” to heartfelt “Shiny Black Star” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 10 “Buried Alive” another live track and the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
There I no barcode on the flipside of the CD. This indicates retail non-compatibility. This is also not the best mix I’ve ever heard. It sounds a bit amateurish to me on my high high end speakers and lacks continuity track to track, Looking now at the liner notes it was recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by one individual (The Kitchen Cynic). This is typically a big “no no” in the recording Industry. Each production phase must be handled by a separate music professional in order to maximize the checks and balances between engineers. The impact this will have on the overall production value cannot be overstated. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Some of the aforementioned issues are not typical for Gold Standard CD releases.
This latest release from Inside Neon entitled If You’re not with us, then you’re against us is a consistent musical statement from start to finish. Its strength – the strong song for song consistency, progressive dynamics and strong melodic structure that keeps coming at you. The music is progressive, unpredictable, heavy and highly original. Like a heavy weight fighter this CD packs a powerful punch, and goes the full 12 rounds with no sign of letting up.